Over-50s insurance specialist RIAS has admitted that a suppression cock-up forced it to suspend a major marketing campaign for nearly two weeks, although not before it sent out nearly a thousand mailings to people who had previously opted out.
The admission follows a single complaint to the ad watchdog after one direct mail recipient took umbrage, as they had been assured their details had been removed from the RIAS marketing database.
The company, part of Ageas Retail, said it had identified a failure of its primary suppressions process in March last year, triggered by the removal of a Post Office address file check.
As a result, 980 consumers were sent marketing communications after they had requested that their details be suppressed. RAIS claimed to have acted promptly once it knew there was an issue and suspended all marketing activity until it had correctly applied all requests for suppressions to each marketing campaign file.
All email campaigns were stopped for 14 days while files were checked and reloaded and all direct mail campaigns were held at the mailing house for a week and manually sorted to remove any mailings to consumers who had asked for their details to be suppressed. In addition, its outbound contact centre was closed for two days while its files were manually checked.
However, despite acknowledging that the failure was “unfortunate”, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld the complaint. Its ruling stated: “We were concerned that RIAS had not complied with the requirements of the CAP Code that marketing communications should not be sent to consumers who had asked not to receive them, and that consumers were entitled to have their personal information suppressed.”
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